Starship Technologies delivery robots
Occurred: August 2020-
Starship Technologies is an Estonian company that makes autonomous delivery robots. Starship launched started launching commercial services in 2017 in the UK, USA, Germany, and other countries, often in partnership with local supermakets.
The robots, which can travel at a max speed of 6 kilometres per hour (3.7 mph), use 10 cameras, ultrasound, radar, and GPS to travel along pavements and cross streets.
People have generally welcomed Starship Technologies' robots for their convenience, time-saving, and cuteness. However, there have been instances of robots crashing, getting lost, or taking too much time to make deliveries, leading to negative feedback and, occasionally, physical backlashes.
In August 2020, the BBC reported that a Starship Technologies robot delivering groceries in Milton Keynes, UK, veered into a canal. It is not known how the robot made a mistake, or if human interference was to blame.
In December 2022, a group of Starship robots in Cambridge, UK, were filmed being kicked by a construction worker, drawing a mixture of sympathy for the robots and concern about their impact on jobs.
The same month a Starship robot made the news by thanking a passer-by for his help after it had got stuck on an icy pavement in Cambridge.
Operator: Starship Technologies; Co-op; Sodexo; Tesco
Developer: Starship Technologies
Purpose: Deliver groceries
Issue: Accuracy/reliability; Employment; Robustness, Safety
Transparency: Black box
Published: December 2021
Last updated: January 2023